Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Reading for Kids

Summer fun continues this week with a book that explores the immigrant experience.  But don't worry, I haven't gotten too serious on your kid's beach vibe.  While this book will prove extremely enlightening for your children, it is also full of humor and laugh out moments.  This author has been able to combine heart with levity making this a refreshing and thought provoking book.

Ok, now for my summer reading tip.  Make trips to the library fun!  Kids who aren't book lovers can feel lost at the library. I am giving you a link to a blog that has delightful library challenges: Growing Book by Book.  While they apply mostly to picture books they can be adapted to middle school readers as well.  Why not check out the Newbery winners from the year you were born?  What about checking out the first and last books in the fiction stacks?  Some will be hits, some won't, but they will certainly give you a place to start.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you don't miss books that can be entertaining and informative during the summer.  The best of both worlds.

Title: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

Author: Firoozeh Dumas

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
In this semi autobiographical story,  Zomorod has moved from Iran to California.  Newport Beach is their latest stop.  It is the late 1970’s and she is about to start middle school.  First off, she is so tired of people asking her about the camels in Iran that she decides to go by Cindy, I mean it works on the Brady Bunch.  She is also dealing with the typical embarrassment any middle schooler feels towards her parents, compounded by the fact they haven’t quite mastered the language or the culture.  As she navigates between these two worlds she is also confronted by the hostility towards Iran in the wake of the Hostage Crisis.  This is a lot for one kid to handle.  Thankfully she has supportive friends and healthy sense of humor to manage through it.  Oh, and by the way, the only place she has ever seen a camel is the zoo!

Why I love this book:
  • Ok, full disclosure.  I grew up in California and am the same age as the author, so I could really relate to this story.  I wanted a puka shell necklace and a canopy bed just as much as Cindy!  I also had an unusual Norwegian name that I would have done anything to change.  However, I did not have the immigrant experience which plays so prominently into this story.  It is the humor and honesty with which the author tackles this narrative that charmed the socks off me.
  • Did I mentioned I laughed throughout?  Any girl will relate to Cindy being mortified by her family at times, but throw in some of the Persian customs and I had a hard time not laughing out loud.  Let me just say Sexy Grandma T-Shirts with sequins and It’s a Boy wrapping paper figured prominently in my vocal outbursts.
  • Despite the giggles, what I loved about this book was that it humanizes the immigrant experience for kids, and gives them a wonderful peak into our history with Iran.  I learned something and I even lived throughout the experience!  I also think it figures nicely into how we talk to kids about immigrants in the US, especially during this politically charged time.  A story about a real family and their challenges is quite powerful.

Who this book is for: 
I can’t wait to give this to my tween.  Wonderful for kids entering middle school who like realistic fiction.

Final thoughts: 
A really lovely book that combines honesty, humor and history to deliver a story that will stay with me.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: It Ain't So Awful, Falafel.  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, am the author's age, so I was a little hazy on the historical details, although could get all of the fashion and music details! A few years later, when I was in high school, a girl moved to our community from Lebanon. She hung out with my group until she got to be "cooler" than we were- this really hit home!